Resolve to know more

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RESOLVE is urging the infertility community to spread the message “Resolve to know more.” I’m writing about how others can resolve to know more about comforting someone battling infertility. Since infertility is still a fairly uncomfortable topic for most, treading the waters can be intimidating. Here are a few tips –

  • Stay away from using cliches. We’ve heard them all before and they weren’t helpful the first time.  “God has a plan for you” or “It will happen when it’s meant to happen” or my personal favorite, “Just relax” make us crazy! The next person who tells me to relax is coming off my Christmas card list. If you want a generic thing to say, try “I’m so sorry, that must be horribly difficult. If you want to talk about it, please let me know”. 
  • Be extra sensitive on holidays. Holidays can be especially painful for those of us with infertility. Imagining how events would be different with kids, seeing a facebook feed full of babies and children enjoying the holiday, and being around our family members with kids are just a few of the triggers than can make the holidays extra difficult. I have a friend who sends me a text every mothers day just to “let me know she’s thinking of me”. An easy thing for her to do, but it really has meant a lot to me. 
  • Be interested in the process. The friends and family we’ve found the most comfort in are the ones most interested in our treatment. Treating infertility isn’t just taking a few pills and having a bunch of sex. It is a time consuming, complicated, sometimes painful, always exhausting, and completely engulfing process. I appreciate when my friends and family ask questions and seem interested. 
  • Don’t complain about your pregnancy. We know you are bloated, swollen and nauseous but we’d love to feel ten times worse and be in your shoes. Whenever I hear a woman complaining about her pregnancy I want to just shake her and tell her how lucky she is and to appreciate every wave of nausea, but I don’t because that’s what a crazy person would do (and I’m not quite there). 
  • Offer your time. If you are family or a close friend, offer a ride to an appointment or to sit with them in the waiting room. A lot of appointments are involved with infertility treatments and it can get overwhelming. Having someone else come with us make it a bit more fun and spices up the routine. Personally, I prefer to go to my appointments alone but I do appreciate the offer. 

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Who knew I’d become an activist

Who knew I'd become an activist

Infertility awareness week starts next week! I thought I would get us all in the spirit a little early with what I’m doing to spread awareness (albeit for somewhat selfish reasons).

I’ve become increasingly more furious about the complete lack of infertility coverage with my work-sponsored plan. I’ll never understand why infertility isn’t treated just like any other disease. Can you imagine if plans took away diabetes coverage? Oh but they cover sterilization of me or my husband at 100%, super.

Rather than continually bitch about this, I decided to try and do something about it. So, I sat down and wrote letters to the President, HR Director and HR Benefits Manager. According to resolve.org, 65% of companies that offer infertility coverage did so because of an employee request.

I suspect that my company doesn’t offer this coverage for religious reasons (private company) more so than financial. I’ll save my rant against the Catholic church’s feelings on IVF for another day, Good Friday doesn’t really seem appropriate. So unfortunately I doubt anything will be done until my state mandates the coverage (did you know that 15 states already do?).

If your interested in sending a similar letter to your employer, you can use the same template I did at http://www.resolve.org/family-building-options/insurance_coverage/no-coverage-through-work.html. I decided to also include a few personal details (how long we’ve been trying, what a struggle it is for us, how isolating it is when insurance doesn’t acknowledge it’s a real problem) to try and evoke some empathy (I mean their not monsters, right?) .

Infertility is such a quiet/private struggle, it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. So, this is my small attempt to be heard. If I was bolder, I’d wear a infertility awareness shirt/pin/flag/billboard all next week . But since I’m not, I’ll start working on letters to my state representatives and the Pope!